Friday, September 11, 2009

on not being a genius

i have in my possession an almost complete set of the canary. i think it's an almost complete set. i have issues 2-6 and i think, i could be quite wrong about it, that the the journal never got past the number 6. it was a brilliant journal, one of my favorites fetishized not in the ether but in paper form. clean looking with simple bios located -- where else -- in the back.

#2 is a great issue. one of my favorites among my favorites. among the contributors is i think a very good poet, tina celona, who's contributions are among the highlights of a stellar issue.

it might not be noticeable here but during the month of august i had placed myself on a no poetry writing prohibition. rather than worry myself to death over poetry, its abundance, my own place within it, my unhappiness at my very writing and hence the core of my being, i decided to stop writing and simply be as still as possible. locate myself in other things. be a reader. not worry about shit out of my control.

i have just returned from my monthly poetry writing get-together. the poets are a conglomeration of old pros and absolute beginners. we meet at a local brew pub, shoot the shit, talk shit, gab, gossip and exchange poems. i've been a member of this group for over a year. tonight i thought went well with a rather large group. a few of the poets are superb writers.

rather than continue the episodic nature of this post i'll say that i had little to contribute to the group because of my self-imposed exile from writing poetry. my text 'thought(nothought' was well-received i think but it is an occasional poem. when asked why this poem, or any poem, when i had announced that i'd placed myself on a no-poetry writing restriction i told the group that sometimes the urge to write is too strong to resist.

when asked why a put myself on a no-poetry writing restriction i told them that sometimes i need a little distance. for perspective. to remind myself that the love of writing is not the same as the need for attention. that the historical weight of poetry needs to be surmised. that i am no genius. neither is anybody.

i told the group that i'd been reading poets who in my estimation are at the height of their powers, published a few books, and yet still worry about audience and their writing and their place in poetry. that when i read about such poets' worries it makes me happy because no matter how successful another poet might seem to me that that poet has the same worries as me. the idea of success is a chimera and if these poets deem themselves failures then that gives me hope for my own dismal life.

for example, last night i stopped at the newsbeat on the way home from work. i bought two publications, one movie magazine, the other a lit journal. i love movies. i live and breathe movies. i dream about movies. i think about movies all the time. but it was the two poems that i read in the lit journal that made me glad to be alive.

that's it. that's the essence of poetry. the reading and writing of it. it makes you glad to be alive, whether you are a genius or no. chances are you are -- i am -- not a genius. like tina celona in the canary #2 with wonderful, crazy poems and whose bio reads simply thus:

tina celona is not a genius.


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